Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday 31 January

Just before Christmas I felt exhausted.  And I felt terrible about it.  I also felt a bit down, I wasn’t feeling able to get into the Christmas spirit, nor was I coming up with any new year's resolutions.  So, one night before going on Christmas holidays, I gave into my mood and pulled out a packet of instant potato mix for dinner.  It didn’t really help!

We all, I’m sure, have times like this.  But for some reason I can be left feeling bad for having emotions, needing sleeping, wanting to eat.  It sounds crazy doesn’t it?  Yet the stories we hear of the heroes of the faith don’t talk about their basic human responses and needs, I can feel like they don’t have them.  But I need sleep.  I can’t think well if I’m hungry.  I feel sad, hurt, happy.  So what’s wrong with me?

Our humanity can sometimes be presented as the problem with the world.  The consequence of sin.  The cause of pain.  But to be human is to be God’s creation.  He created a day of rest, for we need to rest.  He created food to sustain us, for we need to be sustained.  And he created emotions, feelings, thoughts.  I believe we will also still be people, humans, in the life after this one.  Perfected, yes.  Sinless, yes.  Everlasting, yes.  But humans.  After all, Jesus rose again in a body.  He ate fish on a beach with his best friends.  God didn’t want more angels, more animals or bodiless spirits.  He wanted you and me.  The Bible tells it this way -

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
- Genesis 1 v 26 - 27

My humanity is not my sin.  My humanity does not need to be thrown off.  It is God’s creation.  A creation he once saw as good and one He will make perfect again.  I don’t need to fight it.  Instead, when I’m feeling out of sorts, I know I can turn to my creator for renewal and peace.  And so can you. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday 24 January

Happy new year!  It has been a strange start hasn’t it – for many of us the holiday break delivered only one sunny day for every six rainy ones.  It seemed that each time our family decided to go to the park or beach (just as we were packed and had opened the door) it would rain, holding off any adventure.

It has felt like this has happened to me in other areas of life too.  I normally have at least three or four new year’s resolutions on the go but this year, try as I might, nothing has sprung to mind.  It’s worried me.  I’ve gone into the year with no resolutions.  No plans.  No goals.  Will this year drift past me as I aimlessly float through it, becoming nothing, doing nothing?  To some of you these worries must sound silly, but others may know that fear of an uncontrolled, unordered life.

And yet the year has begun.  And there has been no disaster yet.  In fact many unexpected things have happened, including being able to open our home to an unexpected international visitor.

Proverbs 16 verse 1 says “We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.”  In God’s hands my year is resolved.  He has a plan.  He has goals.  To try to listen to his leading.  To respond to his call.  To keep space for his right answers.  These are all worthy resolutions.  So maybe I’m not without new year’s resolutions after all.  As James says,

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
- James 4 v 13

Maybe what this year is really for is to acknowledge the place God has always had in my life.  The One who will bring any good thing worth having, the One who will gently change me to be more like Him.  My resolution this year is to try to let Him.